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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Europe suffers another terrorist attack, as the free world continues to search for a champion.

On Tuesday, terrorists conducted suicide attacks in Belgium, killing upwards of 31 people and at least  160 injured.  The terrorist operators chose to detonate their suicide gear in the crowded Maelbeek Metro Station in Brussels, and also at Zaventem International Airport.  This horrific event was no doubt some sort of retaliation for Belgium's aggressive efforts to assist the French authorities in identifying, locating and apprehending terror suspects who are using Belgium as a safe haven.  Only three days ago, Belgian police apprehended one of the individuals suspected of direct involvement in last year's Paris attacks.  I have nothing but admiration and support for the law enforcement authorities in Belgium and France.  Over the previous four months, a great deal of attention has been generated regarding the issue of national security, as everyday French (and Belgian) citizens have to consider just how safe rheir families really are.  Sadly, we aren't discussing Europeans on vacation who inadvertently got caught up in local violence.  The people of Europe are obliged to have public discourse regarding the safety of their own communities. This is a very sobering time for resiidents of Avila, Spain, or Cork Ireland, or maybe Schlitters, Austria, who have basically always been able to assume the relative security of their neighborhoods and villages, at least as far as foreign threats go.  The world has become a much smaller place, and liberal immigration laws and the lack of enforcement has provided those persons who harbor latent resentment towards anything from the west, to move in next door.  That reality is no longer worth the argument.  These people had to come from somewhere, which makes the continued debate regarding refugees from Syria even more important.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the terror attacks in Belgium, is the predictable, toothless response of the United States.  President Barsck Obama, who just happens to be visiting Cuba (enjoying Cuba Libres and good seafood while political prisoners and no doubt a number of U.S. citizens, starve in the Havana jail), tossed out the tired "our thoughts and prayers" comment to the press, and then continued his original speech, which was so ideologically leftist that Che Guevara saluted from the grave.  It is so difficult to accept (but we must, at least for the next nine months) the direction we are taking with regards to Socialist Cuba, when at the same time the Obama Administration has gone out of its way to embarrass Israeli President Netanyahu and create difficulties between our nations.  In truth, it wouldn't have mattered if Obama had been in DC or Durban when the news from Brussels first broke.  President Obama has laid down the law, policy-wise.  ISIS does not pose a threat to the United States, and any effort by the United States to take a leadership role in the fight against ISIS would be innappropriate.  This hardline "laissez faire" approach to international terror is living our European allies in a bit of a fix.  In 2008, when Barack Obama took office, the leaders of Europe were tripping over each other to be the first to be best friends with the first African-American President of the United States.  This sickening lovesick attitude (which pervades amongst the people of Europe as well), was on display in foreign relations, as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands were perfectly willing to grt in line behind whatever policy Obama thought best.  Examples include the terrible New Start Nuclear Disarmament Treaty, which was supported by Europe, the lack of spine in dealing with Russian threats against Nato expansion, and the never-ending sanctions regime put in place to force Russia to end its support of murdering thugs and guerillas in Ukraine.  Where has that policy gotten us?  Nowhere, except we have to change our maps to correctly show Crimea as again a province of Russia.

Now that the leaders of Europe have lined up their equities alongside Obama, they impatiently wait for the United States to step up and show some aggressive leadership in the fight against this evil plague that continues to expand and continues to kill.  Sadly Monsieur Hollande, Frau Merkel, and Mr. Cameron will have to wait at least until late January 2017.  Unless ISIS conducts a major terrorist operation within the United States, the European nations, as they are doing with the refugee crisis, will have to formulate policy sans the U.S.A.  The Obama Administration's wilingness to wait until the bad guys strike us domestically before we recognize them (and all Islamic Extremists) as the enemy is a terrible mistake, and very well may prove costly.  For a month or so, it appeared that possibly Russia and Vladimir Putin might be willing to take the lead in the campaign to destroy this group, but we found out, not surprisingly, that all Putin wanted was to strengthen the bargaining position of Russia's Syrian puppet, Bashar al-Assad.  So the free world continues to look for a champion, someone who will rain destruction on these thugs.  As things stand, ISIS has no opposition to its expansion into Africa (through Boko Haram and al-Shabaab), Latin America and Southest Asia.  Militarily, ISIS appears to have no problem fighting the Iraqi Armed Forces to a stand-still (even with air support and ad hoc special forces ops for Iraq).  Now that the Russians have stepped things down in Syria, ISIS feels no real threat or pressure.  I fear that this summer may bring tragedy to many people; I pray everyday to be wrong.

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